Ebola: Uganda on the right track in fight against epidemic – UNICEF

KAMPALA— Uganda is on the right track and doing well in its fight against the Ebola epidemic, UNICEF representative in Uganda Dr Mohamed Munir Safieldin has said.


“Uganda is doing well and it has the expertise, which helped in West Africa and is helping at home,” Safieldin said.


In July 2014, Ugandan experts flew to Sierra Leone and Liberia to assist the overburdened governments in containing the Ebola virus disease.


Safieldin was responding to a concern raised by a news editor who wondered why: “Uganda is failing in the Ebola fight yet our experts were successful in West Africa”.


This was during an orientation on covering the Ebola outbreak in Uganda at the Golden Tulip in Kampala.


“Today, 63 days have passed since the announcement of the outbreak. And 141 cases have been confirmed. I am not talking about probable case,” he said.


“Those who have recovered and walked out of the ETUs (Ebola treatment units) healthy [76] are much more than those who died [55],” he said, adding that those who succumbed to the virus were those who ran away from the health facilities, while those who recovered ran to the health facilities. He said because of the above figures, Uganda is doing well.


Dr Mohamed Safieldin said as of Friday, the active Ebola contacts (the contact numbers are changing continuously) were 764 people who have been identified over the last 21 days.


“Over the last 24 hours, 50% of these identified contacts were visited, their temperature was checked, and their health status was checked. This is excellent. However, last week, the contact follow-up reached over 90%,” he said.


He added that several people graduate from the list of contacts because 21 days would have passed without any Ebola symptoms and therefore the particular contacts are no longer a concern.


Safieldin also said it is good that the rate at which new cases are being confirmed is decreasing over time. November 18, 2022, health ministry Ebola outbreak report indicated that there was no new Ebola case.


“Look at the numbers of Ebola cases that were confirmed at the beginning. We were talking about five to 15 cases daily. Now we are talking about one or two cases,” he said.


Health minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, who attended the orientation, appealed to media houses to help the Government fight the battle against Ebola through reporting about Ebola correctly.


She accused some media houses of ‘twisting, cooking and turning around’ stories to suit their agendas and leaving out ‘the truth’, while others of never reporting about anything that her ministry is doing to fight Ebola.


“Say something about what we are talking about frequently and not only the stories that you want,” she said.


“Help us to fight the battle,” Aceng added.


The orientation, which was part of training supported by UNICEF Uganda, together with partners from the health ministry, the World Health Organisation and the African Centre for Media Excellence, was aimed at equipping the media with information for correct reporting on Ebola.


The orientation was attended by officials from WHO, UNICEF, ACME and editors from various media houses, including Vision Group, Uganda Radio Network, Next Media, Nation Media and Top Radio.